The Goal Race That Wasn’t

Last Sunday was supposed to be the day I ran my second goal race of the year: Budapest Marathon. But as I mentioned in the weeks coming up to the event, it wasn’t looking likely that I would compete. So what actually happened in the end?

I didn’t run a marathon.

But I did run something relatively close.

The Budapest Marathon weekend offered three events: Marathon, 30k, and 10k. This weekend I chose to run the 30k. So let’s talk about that. From about two weeks out it was overwhelmingly clear that, bar a small miracle, I would not be able to run 26.2 miles. But I decided to try to remain strong; not have a minor breakdown, etc. etc. I made my peace with running the 10k, and detached myself emotionally from the marathon as a goal.

However during the two hour flight to Budapest I had time to do some real reflection and journaling on where I was at with all the nerves and frustrations I knew I would feel as the weekend rolled on. I knew it would be tough watching all my fantastic City Athletics friends do the race I so badly wanted to compete in, and to feel all that training go to waste. The thing was, my calf didn’t even feel too bad. And so by the time we landed I had a plan; to go for a gentle jog- 1 to 3 miles at 10 min/mile pace- to evaluate the situation. It was a bit of a tight turnaround, since we had to go pick up our race packs pretty soon.

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So almost as soon as we’d got to our Air Bnb, I changed into my running kit and took to the streets of Budapest for the first run in weeks. It was wonderful; whether that be from the gorgeous weather, being in a new city, or just running for the first time in weeks. Budapest was looking dreamy, and we were right by Heroes Square. The run felt a little awkward at first, but I certainly didn’t feel all locked up in my muscles and joints, and the pain was actually pretty minimal as long as I kept a moderate pace. One mile turned into three, and before I knew it I got a text telling me we needed to head out to the expo, so I headed back to the flat.

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Just like that, the decision was made; I would run the 30k. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t a whole barrel of laughs; no run of that distance ever is! But I managed to do something I’d thought almost impossible in the weeks leading up to the trip. City Athletics were on top form, and I got a gorgeous tour of Budapest by foot, even if I didn’t appreciate it at the time!

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Pre-race vibes. My crew is better than yours 😉 

I didn’t compete in my goal race. But I still did do something rather special this weekend. The whole event went better than could have been expected, and I truly feel a great sense of accomplishment, perhaps more so because it involved a massive reevaluation of my expectations.

Full race report to come soon!

How was your weekend? Did you race?

Lots of love,

Pippa

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Where to get discount running kit

“I know, I know” I tell my mother for the hundredth time, “I have a lot of running kit”. This conversation takes place every time I go to visit my parents, and inevitably have to sneak a pile of dirty lycra into their washing machine. And yes, I do have a lot of running kit. But I pride myself on finding a good deal, and so I thought I’d share that with you.

PS. My mother and I now have an agreement; she’s not allowed to ask how much I spend on running gear unless she’s looking to make a donation 😉

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I was introduced to Sports Shoes by my Aunt and Uncle- both runners, both bargain-hunters after my own heart. The website essentially has a lot of last season’s running shoes, meaning that they sell for around half the price, as long as you don’t mind having them in a different colour way. (A caveat- occasionally updates in a shoe will involve technical adjustments- so it’s worth doing your research). The online shoe finder is actually pretty decent and there’s a good range of clothing too- although the shipping is a bit steep at £4.99.

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A Glasgow-based running website, Run 4 It is often cheapest for specific shoes + postage. I ordered myself a pair of Brooks Ravenna from their website after becoming convinced they were the shoe I absolutely had to have or else the world would end. Long story short, I sent them back, but the shipping and returns process was really simple, and I’d highly recommend these guys.

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Originally a cycle website that expanded into other sports, Wiggle is a great store for a bargain. They offer free delivery over £25, and I really like their own brand, dhb. I own several high-vis long-sleeved tops from dhb, and I find they fit me really nicely, and are visible at night whilst not being overly garish. Wiggle is also great for sports nutrition- I get my SiS electrolytes from them, at half their RRP.

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Ohhhhh Decathlon, you will be the death of me someday. For those who don’t know, Decathlon is an amazing sports store originally from France. It caters for pretty much every sport you could imagine, including the likes of rollerblading, alpine skiing and horseriding. They have huge warehouses, often in industrial estates, and they’re seriously dangerous to go in. Everything is really cheap, and they have a 365-day guarantee on all products. I have to use the online store because I know that if I actually went into a real store, I would come out 100% broke. Having said that, they don’t often do free shipping- Black Friday 2015 being an exception. If you’re based in the UK and just starting out in any sport, Decathlon is the way to go!

All this goes to show that you really don’t have to spend a fortune. But also, no-one will judge you if you do!

Where do you get most of your running kit?

Lots of love,

Pippa

Mindfulness: Falling for fall?

Summer has always been my favourite season, and so when Autumn arrives it can be easy to feel despondent. Whilst social media gets excited for crisp leaves, warm jumpers and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I often struggle slightly- I think that’s the thing with the British Summer- blink and you’ll miss it.  That’s why it can often be quite startling when Autumn comes around.

That being said, the colder months are generally much better for me than they used to be, and I think that has a lot to do with running all year-round. Spending more time in nature, getting that endorphin fix, and trying to run during the limited daylight hours- without any of this, I’d be lost. So whilst I’m not overly excited about the end of Summer, things are looking up. And here are the things I’m looking forward to:

 

  • Blanket scarves. These are basically a socially-acceptable blanket that you’ll always have to hand during the winter months. I can even get away with wrapping myself up in mine when I’m at the office.

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  • Chai tea. I feel about chai tea the way many people feel about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’m in love with it. Cannot get enough. I love super sweet chai tea when you’re stuck inside on a super grey and rainy day. Preferably wrapped in a big blanket scarf.

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  • Bonfire Night! This is my favourite “holiday” of the year. We Brits snuggle up, watch fireworks and build huge bonfires, in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot- an attack on the Houses of Parliament that was foiled at the last minute. It’s such a community event, and I absolutely adore it.

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  • Crisp mornings. Whilst Autumn/Winter in the UK is generally grey and foggy, every once in a while we get a gorgeous crisp sunny morning. These are the best to be out running in.

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So there you have it. I’m not 100% on board for the colder months, but I’m a damn sight more positive than I would have been this time two years ago!

 

What’s your favourite thing about the colder months? Please, give me tips on how to survive!

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

5 tips for anxious people

I’m having a bit of a rough time with my mood right now. I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for a while now, and whilst I’ve generally got everything under control, it comes in peaks and troughs sometimes. Sometimes you can find a cause, and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for it, and the latter is the most frustrating.

 

However I have a few things that help, and I thought I’d share them with you today- just for the next time you’re having a bit of an off day, or you’ve lost your mojo.

 

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1) A big, cosy jumper. For me, this is my University of Cambridge sweatshirt. It’s grey and probably has a few stains down it at any given time, but I love it nonetheless. There’s a story behind it: having finished my finals, a year of stress had culminated in a week of partying- and I was exhausted. So my friend Ben gave me his Cambridge sweatshirt, and let me sleep in his room for a week. We would burn relaxing candles, read our books, and get some well earned sleep. I have fond memories of those times, and wearing this sweatshirt helps me feel comforted.

 

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2) A candle. It’s no surprise that aromatherapy is really effective when it comes to stress relief, but I didn’t realise how much until I found myself without a candle. I just spent some gift vouchers on a gorgeous one by This Works – Lavender and Vertivert – and it soothes me so much. I think it’s a similar fragrance to the one my yoga instructor diffuses around the room during savasanah- it’s relaxing and slightly minty too.

 

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3) A quilt. My Granny made all her grandchildren quilts when they were born, and as a 21st birthday present, she made me an adult-sized one, and even embroidered my initials onto it. It has huge sentimental value, but also serves a really great purpose: it’s really heavy. I recently discovered that one way to treat anxiety is by the use of pressure, which suppresses the central nervous system, stopping it from going into overdrive. That’s one of the many reasons hugs help make us feel better. Anyway, the blanket is really heavy, and I can just crawl up under it when I’m feeling a bit shit.

 

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4) Tea. I love a cup of tea before bedtime, especially when it’s cold out and I’m feeling rough. There’s something so soothing about it, as well as the fact that making a cup of tea requires taking a moment out from your regular day.
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5) A notebook. Throughout my struggles with anxiety and depression I’ve been advised to journal, but it’s not until I started my training journal that I appreciated the value of getting things out on paper and out of my head. I don’t think I’ve ever written a longform entry in a journal about my emotions, but sometimes writing down a list of things that you’re worried about can be overwhelmingly helpful. I like to divide them up into Can change and Can’t change. Each has their upside.

 

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Do you struggle with any of these issues? How do you pick yourself up?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Monday Motivation: A Life Outside of Running

Morning! This week’s motivation is courtesy of Ashley Higginson and Saucony. Ashley is a steeplechase runner who almost gave up on her sport completely. In the end, it turned out to be finding a life outside of running, and a sense of balance, that rekindled her fire.

 

 

This speaks to me a lot. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about something Lauren Fleshman said in a recent Running On Om episode- that running was the kindling for a lot of the joy in her life- but that’s scary and, at times, limiting- especially when injury comes your way. I think recently I’ve become increasingly consumed by running, and I’ve started to realise I don’t want to define myself solely as a runner. Anyways, tangent over.

 

What’s motivating you this week?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa